School me on a cut bait set-up

2 Weekends ago was using some Large cut bait in 1 of the passes and hooked up with some pretty nice sharks but would lose them at the boat. The tide was a outgoing tide and just free lined it out and waited for rod to go off. Didnt use any weight.
Went back this past weekend with my wifes co workers.This time a bit more prepared with a wire leader. Now its a incoming tide and cant get the bait to stay down and cant get any hook ups. Eventually tie on a 2oz weight on a 3 way swivel with the bait on a 2'  leader. After about 15 minutes it goes off...... Feels like its hung up. Get out on the flat and try to walk past it and see if it will come loose. Next thing i know its pulling drag and a 40"+ snook goes airborn....I do eventually lose the fish.
What is a good set up to rig when i need to get the bait down in a very fast tidal flow. Maybe a rig that breaks the weight away??....Sorry kinda a noob at this. TIA
Jason :USA


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,034 Captain
    edited June 21 #2
    All we ever use (unless we're hunting toothy critters, is a simple knocker rig where the egg sinker rests right against the hook.. and we go up in size depending on how strong the current is (or isn't - then we're using lighter sinkers..).  That said, there are times and places where bottom fishing with a chunk won't work (when the tide is screaming for instance).  Under those conditions we simply move to where the tide is a bit less (sudden bends or points will have a strong current on one side - but the other side will be quite a bit less... and big fish will just naturally hold in the quieter waters where they don't have to work as hard to hold their place).  You can also look closely at how the current is running - and you might notice an edge where it's less (strong currents in the center of a river or creek  - much less current along the edges next to the bank...). In short try to pick your spots -and you can be certain the tide will slow down dramatically towards the end of that tide cycle - and actually stop completely for 30 minutes or so at the top or bottom of the tide... 

    Now for the fun part.  Snook and grouper love to live in places with lots of snags (downed trees that you can't see, etc.).  That's why most of my grouper fishing is done straight under the boat -and we never move baits along the bottom once they're down in place.  Start moving them and you'll find every snag and hole there is... You have no choice but to work at a distance for big snook - and you will find yourself hooked up and snagged up in the same moment - moving the boat around to a different angle may give you a shot - but big snook and tangles are something we all deal with...  

    The only change I ever make to my bottom rigs is when I add a bit of wire to the end of a heavy leader to pick up shark on the bottom.  I just tie on a short trace of wire with a hundred pound swivel - hook at one end swivel at the other - and the sinker stops at the swivel.  Leave it locked up until it bends over in the rodholder - that's all there is to it.. If the current is too strong don't try to bottom fish until it slacks off a bit - or simply move to where the current is a bit less.  Some of my absolutely best grouper spots are only fishable the first hour or last hour of a tide - the rest of the time the current is just too strong to make it possible... 

    Hope this helps... 

    Almost forgot to mention - I rarely ever use a "large chunk"  when fishing cutbait.  I just want really fresh chunks cut just a bit too large for catfish (not that it discourages them that much... Think about the size of chunk a 10lb redfish could snack on - and you'll be right in the ball park.  You'd be astonished at the size of the fish that will pick up a chunk that's not very big at all...

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • 1outlaw1outlaw Naples FLPosts: 819 Officer
    Thanks Bob!!
    Jason :USA
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